Community Studio: Drawing

This morning was our first Community Studio: Drawing session in our newly renovated Barn Studio at the Empower Youth RanchCommunity Studio is a free art program for all ages led by SOIL SERIES artists with assistance from Empower Youth interns. Our Community Studios offer a dedicated time and place for creativity, inviting participants to broaden their definition of art and follow new pathways of thinking and making.

Our first Community Studio: Drawing was all about testing the limits of drawing and imagining what drawing can be. We considered the questions:

  • What makes a drawing?
  • What makes a drawing “good” or “bad”?
  • What do you use to make a drawing?
  • How does it make you feel when you are drawing?
A record of our thinking on the studio/lab chalkboard.

Artists we looked at included William Kentridge, The Situationist International, Nina Katchadourian, Richard Long, Sarah Sze, Andy Goldsworthy, Michael Heizer, Robert Smithson, Eva Hesse, Jenny Holzer, Sol Lewitt, Dan Flavin, Diana Al-Hadid, and Cai Guo-Qiang, among others.

For each of these images, we tried to answer the question: Is this a drawing? Why or why not?


Sarah Sze, Triple Point, 2013
Richard Long, A Line Made by Walking, 1967
Guy Debord (The Situationist International), The Naked City, 1957
Andy Goldsworthy, Dandelion flowers pinned with thorns to rosebay willowherb stalks held above the bluebells with bracken forks Brough, Cumbria 8 June 1985
Diana Al-Hadid, Mob Mentality, 2014
Cai Guo­-Qiang, Sky Ladder, 2015
William Kentridge, still from Drawing from Stereoscope, 1998-1999
Robert Smithson, Spiral Jetty, 1970
Dan Flavin, an artificial barrier of blue, red and blue fluorescent light (to Flavin Starbuck Judd), 1968
Sol Lewitt, Open Geometric Structure 3, 1990
Nina Katchadourian, Finland’s Longest Road, 2000
Eva Hesse, Untitled (Rope Piece), 1970


Our artists were then tasked with finding items around the farm that could be used to make drawings. These drawing could take any form as long as they were not made on paper.

Here is what we came up with:


Finally, we returned to the Barn Studio and drew maps of our drawings on the farm. Each artist’s map exhibited a unique approach to line, color, and form.


Join Matthew Kosinski tomorrow for Community Studio: “A Million Ways to Make a Poem” (ages 13 and up) from 6 – 7:30 pm at the Empower Youth Ranch!

All ages are welcome on Wednesday for Community Studio: Sculpture with Hillary Wagner from 10 am – 12 pm at the ranch. Then, on Thursdays, we have Open Studios from 10 – 6. Bring your ideas and your imagination with you for a period of free, self-directing art making. We will be available to talk about art and help bring your ideas to life! All are welcome!

We are still looking for donations of art supplies and books to stock the Barn Studio. You can find some of our needs listed on our Amazon Wishlist, but we are also happy to accept donations of second-hand goods. If you have supplies you would like to donate, or if you would like to receive updates on upcoming workshops and events, please contact us.

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